Why you should be doing qualitative research online
Online qualitative research isn't new, but it is still treated by some as something of an unknown. Far from being a second-best solution, online qual has some real strengths that make it the best approach for many situations and questions.
Here are 5 great reasons to use online qual.
1. People can participate when and where they want
Rather than having to turn up at a particular time and place, online qual participants respond however it suits them. This means there are no geographic restrictions - you can run the discussion across the country or even the world. For some audiences with unpredictable schedules, such as mothers with young children for example, they can fit it in when time allows.
2. Personal and private issues
The online environment provides anonymity for sensitive discussions. Personal or potentially embarrassing issues, health topics, and sensitive discussions are all made easier by running research online. With no faces and no names, people feel free to open up more than they would in front of strangers.
3. Allow discussions to evolve over time
There are some topics that work best when they are given time to develop, rather than being forced. Perhaps it's an issue where social permission is needed before discussing straight out - men talking about their skin care routine for example - or a concept that requires thought and consideration. It also means that if one avenue of questioning doesn't uncover what you need, there is time to go away and develop another.
4. An equal voice for all
Around 40% of the population are introverts, who by nature often feel uncomfortable participating in a group environment. While an experienced moderator can usually overcome difficult group dynamics such as dominant or non-contributing participants, online qual levels the playing field completely and provides equal voice to all respondents.
5. The modern way of communicating
Look around you now - everywhere people are typing into their computers, tablets and phones. There is more written and read communication today than at any time in history. It has become second nature to many, and particularly younger people, to talk to people through the written (or typed) word.
Online qualitative research has been used successfully over many years and across virtually every category. With so much to offer, it deserves a place in every marketer's toolkit.
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